I think I've established once and for all that I'm no genius. It's taken me a while to figure out that blog posts shouldn't always be long and philosophical. In fact, some of the blogs I enjoy most are on the shorter side. Lesson learned...
Ten days ago, I attended the Skoll World Forum in Oxford and thought I should at least say a few words about the experience. This was my first time back in the UK in more than four years and it was quite a pleasant trip down memory lane. The last time I found myself in Oxford was around 1999 and I was delighted to find the town pretty much unchanged. The biggest surprise was the Saïd Business School, where much of SWF took place, right across from the station.
As a communicator, I found the events both fascinating and extremely well-organized. SWF is an interesting mix of social entrepreneurs (or innovators) from the nonprofit, philanthropic, academic, corporate and media worlds. For three days, there's an incredible energy about the town, with side discussions happening everywhere. While the keynote speeches were great and the Skoll Awards were dazzling, it's these impromptu encounters with some of the brightest people around that truly make SWF a unique conference.
I was tickled to hear that one of the main themes this year was disruption, something I touched on in an earlier blog, but the real driving force behind the work being accomplished seems to be more of a transformative than disruptive power.
Some of the organizations and people that I enjoyed meeting and hearing about: John Oldfield at WASH Advocates, Tostan's Molly Melching, Carl Ganter of Circle of Blue, Eric Stowe at Splash, Patrick Moriarty of IRC, Joe Madiath at Gram Vikas, Sanergy's David Auerback, Emily Kasriel who works for the BBC and the Skoll Foundation, Ken Brecher of our own Library Foundation of Los Angeles, and Richard Jefferson of Cambia. All well worth checking out.